Brown University Holds 2017 Nexus Taiwan Conference – Expats, Migrants, and Immigrants: Taiwan/ese in Flux

Brown University held the first “Nexus Taiwan” conference in 2017: “Expats, Migrants, and Immigrants: Taiwan/ese in Flux” on April 20-21. “Nexus Taiwan” is a joint program of the Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Brown University to promote Taiwan research. Brown has invited several international scholars, film directors, and authors engaged in Taiwan Studies to share and discuss research findings. 

Two documentaries were screened at the conference and the directors were invited to share their points of views. “Returning Souls” was directed by Dr. Tai-Li Hu. Dr. Hu is a research fellow and director at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, and a pioneer in ethnology film making in Taiwan. The story is about the young Amis, the native tribe in Taiwan, seeking to bring back ancestral carved pillars from the Institute of Ethnology Museum in Taipei. This documentary not only records the return of ancestral souls, but also addresses issues on tribe tradition, western religions, land policy, local politics, and modern society.

“Money and Honey,” also shown, was directed by Ms. Ching-Hui Lee. Ms. Lee is an associate professor at Da Yeh University and a longtime documentary filmmaker. The film is about foreign female workers in Taiwan, their hard work, and struggle in an unfamiliar country.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Ping-Chen Hsiung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The title of her talk was “Belonging as an Existential Struggle: Further Thoughts on ‘If Taiwan, Then what?” The conference also invited Mr. Ed Lin, a Taiwanese-American writer and novelist. Mr. Lin is a three-time winner of the Asian-American Literary Award, and he shared his writing experience, and the Asian-American present dilemma.

There were three panel discussions, and students from Brown University delivered their research on Taiwan-related studies. Ms. Michelle Ng shared the story of her grandmother, who was raised in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule, and spoke on Taiwan-Japan identity issues.

Front row, left to right: Dr. Tai-Li Hu, Ms. Cynthia Huang, Dr. Caroline Frank, Dr. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, Dr. I-ping Liang, and Ms. Ching-Hui Lee.

Back row includes Dr. Ping-Chen Hsiung, Mr. Ed Lin, Dr. John Shufelt, Dr. Robert Lee, Dr. Rebecca Nedostup, and professors and students from Brown University.

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